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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News/Business.  

    July 27, 2011
    10:00 - 1:00pm EDT  

people focused on this very little in the 2000's, 1990's. they will be saving more. that is one aspect. another issue that has come up in these conversations, likely to characterize consumption in america, we have a two tiered economy. a class of highly educated, highly skilled people in industry is doing well, making money hand over fist periods they are going to be consuming, as much as ever, which is a double-edged sword. it helps to create jobs when you have people flying around in the expense of corporate jets and going to fancy restaurants. on the other hand, it has certainly created a lot of class tension. host: jon hilsenrath, thank you so much for your time this morning. that is it for today.
the house is about to come into session. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] signed, john boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 5, 2011, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes each, but in no event shall debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair at this time recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio, for five minutes. mr. defazio: well, this week
we've just disproven two items of republican orthodoxy and that is corporations don't pay taxes, only individuals pay taxes. and tax cuts create jobs. what am i talking about? well, last friday the authorization for the federal aviation administration expired so the government is not collecting $200 million a week in security fees and other fees that pay for the aviation system. it's partially funded by the users of that system with ticket taxes and such. that's $200 million a week. now, what's happened since? well, three airlines, three honest airlines, frontier airlines, alaska and virgin america, lowered ticket prices because the government isn't collecting the taxes. but the other irlse, hmm, not so much -- the other airlines, hmm, not so much.
they raised the ticket prices to match the taxes and collecting the windfall. the air transport system is complaining about ticket taxes but a chunk of your taxes is going to washington. you can now put into united airlines, continental airlines, jetblue. they're taking the money. in addition to the consumers getting ripped off here, $200 million a week, we have a second one, tax cuts creates jobs. we cut taxes, $200 million a week. that's a lot. so far 4,000 government jobs, now republicans don't care about government jobs, even if they're doing some pretty critical stuff, but tens of millions of private sectors jobs are down the tube because not collecting the taxes means all of the airport improvement
projects across america funded by these fees are grinding to a halt. critical projects. projects that will save lives from runway incursion, control tower, security improvements in our airports to defeat terrorist attacks. in the case of my little regional airport on the coast in oregon, their project to install a runway lighting system for instrument landing before winter has stopped. we just got jet service in there. the airlines say, look, if we're going to come in here in the wintertime, you have bad weather, we need that system. well, if this impasse continues we will not have that system by next winter. now, who is that helping? who are you guys helping over there with these stupid stunts you're pulling there? $200 million a week the government isn't collecting that would pay for these critical projects, put tens of thousands of people to work and now it's a windfall to a bunch of airlines.
don't worey. the air transport association says these short-term increases, that is by the airlines increasing their ticket prices to make up for the taxes going away, these short-term increases benefit all stakeholders because it enables the airlines to invest in their product and service. huh? what? let's see, the money used to go for safety security and other essentials. now it's going to the airlines and they are going to use it to improve their product and service. maybe they'll start serving peanuts and soda on some of these. i don't know. so much for the republican mantra. you know, corporations do pay taxes, and in this case now they're getting a windfall because the taxes went away and no tax cuts don't create jobs. wrong twice. the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes
the gentlewoman from california, ms. roibled -- ms. roybal-allard, for five minutes. ms. roybal-allard: mr. speaker, today i rise to introduce the teen pregnancy prevention act of 2011. my bill addresses the sobering fact that the united states has the highest teenage pregnancy rate of any developed nation. with nearly 750,000 pregnancies a year, teen pregnancy is a critical public health issue that costs our country $10.9 billion annually. contributing to the seriousness of this issue is that 82% of these pregnancies are unplanned. while it is true our nation has made progress in reducing the rate of teen pregnancy, the fact remains that many minority
communities still have disproportionately high rates. for example, among all latina and african-american girls, over half will get pregnant at least once before age 0 compared to 19% -- 20 compared to 19% causecation girls. it has complications and low birth weight. also of great concern is the fact that teen pregnancies can lead to significant social, educational and financial burdens to families and to our country. research tells us that girls who become pregnant dural adolescence are less likely to finish school, have higher rates of unemployment and a greater dependens on public
assistance. in addition to these tragic consequences, many young girls in physically abusive relationships are three times more likely to become pregnant than nonabused girls. while there is no simple solution to address teen sexual behavior, it is possible to reduce teen pregnancy with a strategy of sexual health education that takes into account cultural and lynn begin -- linguintic differences. my act will help reduce the disturbing rate of teen pregnancies in minority communities by supporting new and existing teen pregnancy program intervention with a focus on strengthening community-based organizations. by reinforcing our multimedia
campaigns to provide public health education, by increasing awareness about teen pregnancy, prevention and healthy relationships, by enhancing research in communities of color that examines factors contributing to disproportionate high rates of teen rates and unintended pregnancy, and by examining the role violence and abuse play in the decisions young people make about relationships, sex, pregnancy and childbearing. mr. speaker, our daughters deserve equal opportunities to build a bright future. by preventing teen pregnancies and promoting healthy relationships we can pave the way for our teenage girls to blossom into women and mothers who have realized their full potential. i strongly urge my colleagues to co-sponsor and help pass the
communities of color teenage pregnancy prevention act of 2011. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair at this time recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel. mr. rangel: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. rangel: i think i share the embarrassment of all of the members of this great legislative body when it appears as though in our hands we have the ability to tell people, creditors all over the country and the world that for the first time in our republic's history we are prepared to say we're not going to pay our debts. not doing this because of some pledges that we've signed or because of some commitment that some members have made, that
they will never, ever, ever do anything in support of our president, they will never talk about raising revenue, that they will never vote for a bill, whether it's a health bill, social security, medicaid, medicare, education, that if the president supports it they just don't want it. i don't know how many americans are really waking up this morning wondering exactly what would happen if we hold our country and our president hostage in order to just reach short political gain by people who have been recently elected and believe that compromise is unpatriotic instead of the legislative objective. but more important than the jobs that we would lose, the money that we would lose, the
fact that government would have to be expanded and larger than it's ever been, what i'm really afraid of is that we lose the american dream and create a scenario where that dream becomes a nightmare. i don't know what it is that made america so great. i can't imagine what kind of dream that someone could have in europe or a foreign country and just believe that making it to america that would be better than staying in their own country with their own language and with their own race of people. and yet these tens of thousands of people were prepared in many cases to risk their lives to come to participate in that
american dream. i can't imagine how people who've been snatched from africa and brought in chains in the bottom of vessels and were actually sold as property and yet instead of saying that they want to go back to africa they adopted our bible, they adopted american customs, but most importantly with all of the obstacles that they had to overcome, they adopted the american dream. what makes america so different that we're one of the few countries no matter what you look like or what your last name is you can become an american. it's so amazing the
attractiveness that this dream has. does it mean that a part of that dream is getting rich, inherited, having property, having yachts and cars? no, no. it's having hope and dreams that you would be able to do better for yourself, your family, your kids, your grandkids, your community and, yes, yes, our great country. it means that you're willing to make sacrifices to help others because even though you never fulfill that dream, the dream never, never stops. there's always the ability to say that even though i didn't make it, my kids' are going to go to school. even though i didn't make it, there is the possibility that i will be living in a better world, a world of peace, a world of harmony, a world that makes no difference where you came from that you have a dream that can be fulfilled in this
country. other countries you can't dream. how you're born is how you die. that's going to be your legacy. but in america now all of this is going to be placed in jeopardy because we don't have the guts to call out those people that obviously would rather have this dream shattered, not just for those people that are here, but people all over the world that watch us and maybe they don't have the ability to come here and become a part of that american dream still. throughout the middle east you see other people saying, i, too, can dream. i can be somebody. don't let that dream become a nightmare. support our president. support our fiscal system, and support that dream. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman
from georgia, mr. westmoreland, for five minutes. mr. westmoreland: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i come to the house floor to remember a great friend, a good friend of mine who passed away last tuesday. thomas sop city councilmember, ed bell, was a huge presence in georgia and devoted cheerleader for both upson county, the city of thomason, and me. ed's life of tireless service started when he entered the u.s. navy as an aviation ordnance man for four years during the korean conflict. he continued with a sense of duty as an agent with state farm insurance, where he worked for 33 years and became a mentor for every state farm agent under his direction. he was an agent's agent. and the people that he insured
knew that ed was their agent and he was there to protect their interest. ed was serving his fourth term on the thomason city council and was truly dedicated to improving the lives of those in his community. if i ever found myself within 25 miles of thomason and made the mistake of not calling mr. ed, you can bet that he would somehow find out and i would get an earful over the phone for not coming by to see him. and when you came to visit, you had to be sure to set enough time for ed to introduce you to everyone in town, even though he had already done it many times before. even in the years later, ed could wear a much younger man out with his enthusiasm for showing visitors around his beloved city, taking them through the courthouse, and around the city square. ed really was mr. thomason, he was serving on my district's small business community as well as serving on the thomason, upson arch council, the upson
county school board, the lion's club, and deacon at first baptist church of thomason. in recognition of all this work, he was rewarded the well deserved lifetime achievement award in 2009 from the thomason chamber of commerce committee. there's a laundry list of groups impacted by ed's energy and his involvement could never be replaced or forgotten by anyone. the dedication ed showed to his community pails in -- pales in comparison to his dedication to family. my thoughts and prayers will continue to be with his wife, his three children, and his six grandchildren, one of whom, will, is currently serving as an intern in my office. i cannot adequately express, mr. speaker, how grateful i am to ed and his family for all that he has done for georgia and for me. so, ed, until we meet again, we all miss you.
i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. frank. for five minutes. mr. frank: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. frank: members often come to the floor to talk about inspector general reports about agencies, and they are almost always critical reports. reports of document shortcomings. i'm very proud today to come to the floor to present excerpts from a joint report from the inspectors general of the federal reserve and treasury in which they give a perfect set of marks to the new consumer financial protection bureau. those two agencies looked into this agentcy. this is an agency that is being set up under fire, under
fortunately, and somewhat unusual situation, and what the inspector general reported is they have done everything right. that, quote, they identified and coumented -- documented mission critical activities and mandates. that the cfpb has developed and implementing appropriate plans. we find that they are implementing appropriate plans that support ongoing operations as well as the transfer of employee functions. they created several agencieswide documents that identified and track priorities. we found the agencies had completed implements -- elements of its implementation plan and made progress in others. it is a report from an inspector general that says they have done everything right. i want to put that forward. i want to put it forward in part because the individuals most singly responsible for this great success, the idea of creation of this agency, is
elizabeth warren. elizabeth warren is one of the most able and dedicated individuals to dedicate herself to public service that i have ever encountered. i regret very much that uninformed political opposition denied her the appointment to be the head of the agency. because she was not only the creator of this idea and a great partner for those of us on the financial services committee, i see my colleague from wisconsin, ms. moore, who was an important part of this on the floor, as we set this up in the face of signature opposition from vested interest and ideologues, but having had the idea she then presided as the appointee of the secretary of the treasury under the president to set this agency up in an extraordinary way and it is now on the date when it takes off ready to function. so she was not simply the creator of the idea and a great
advocate, but she's shown herself to be a great administrator. i regret the fact that she is not -- i want to talk for a minute, although i have great confidence in the appointment of million cordray, whom the president appointed. but i want to reflect for a minute on why we had such unwarranted opposition to a woman of great sense and of moderation. a woman who understands the market and was ready to help it function. part of it i have to say was gender bias. along with sheila bear, recently departed, as head of the fdic, his warren encountered from some people, maybe unconscious on their part, the notion that a very strong willed woman with strong opinions might have a place but not in the financial sector. and i regret the loss of both of these.
but there was also on the part of my most conservative republican colleagues a recognition that she was a threat. i want to give credit, i disagreed with the position not to appoint her, i give credit to president obama and secretary geithner because they helped us get this agency created and they did put her in the position and gave her their full backing to get it this far. we have ideologues here who would have people believe that the government is always a bad thing. that less government is always better. we see this notion that we should cap government x percent or y percent. i don't regard more firefighting as a bad thing. i don't think research into alzheimer's and cancer is something we need to limit. i am not opposed to fixing bridges and highways. so this notion that government is always bad is mindless. but there's a particular problem because there are areas where in the private sector is a place that will create wealth, i want us to do what we can to create the right conditions for the private sector, but there will be times when we need the
government to protect people from the private sector. that was the rational of the consumer bureau. it's a popular entity, set up to protect individual citizens from abuses in the private sector. it's working well. it was well designed, i must say. it was well set up as the inspect jurors general have said. and i believe -- inspector generals have said. and i believe my right wing colleagues are terrified their false notion that the government is always the source of the problem and the private sector is always the source of the good, and sometimes the government does create problems, and. time the private sector does create wealth, but there are times the public sector has to protect people from the private sector. the down consumer bureau was set up for -- now the consumer bureau was set for that. it was said the other day we don't worry about the federal reserve, what we worry about is an agency that exists to protect consumers, he's also the one who said he thought the regulators, bank regulators, were there to
protect the banks. we want to have a regulator there to protect the consumers. i salute miss warren. i regret she will not be able to continue the work she's done, but it will live on as a tribute to both the idea she had, the political work she did with us to get it created, and the extraordinarily good administrative work she did in setting it up. i believe mr. cordray and the others will do a good job and we'll soon have proof that the public sector can in some cases protect citizens from private sector abuses. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. paulsen, for five minutes. mr. paulsen: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. paulsen: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to congratulate the people and the liberian people on 164 years of indbens. -- independence. liberia which translates to land of the free shares a unique history of the united states. founded by african-americans and
emancipated slaves in the early 1820's, this small nation of close to 3.8 million people is striving to build a lasting democracy. an incredible feat in such a war-born region. mr. speaker, more than 25,000 liberian americans call minnesota home. i am proud to call them my neighbors, friends, and colleagues. liberian americans in our communities are entrepreneurs, small businesspeople, teachers, lawyer, and nurses. they contributes to the very fabric of our nation and who we are as a people. so let us today recognize the liberian people and the long road they have traveled as a nation. and let us always remember the bond between the ups and the republic of liberia. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair now recognizes the gentleman from new jersey, mr. payne, for five minutes. mr. payne: unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. payne: thank you, mr. speaker.
today we are witnessing a tragic humanitarian crisis in somalia. in the horn of africa. which is currently experiencing its worst drought in over 60 years. according to usaid, crops have failed, live stocks have died, prices in the local markets are too high for most people to buy what they need to feed their families. on july 20, 2011, the united nations announced that famine existed in two regions in somalia. the crisis is affecting over 11 million people throughout the region, and usaid estimates that over 3.2 million people are in life threatening situations and they are in need of dire food, water, and medical attention. additionally, over 80% of those
fleeing somalia are believed to be women and children. at kenya and ethiopia's refugee camps, somali children under five are dying at an alarming rate. i visited a camp in kenya two years ago where many of the refugees from somalia are going. there are five times as many people in that camp as the camp can handle. it was overcrowded two years ago, and with the drought it is just becoming almost impossible to sustain life. an alarming 60% of the people are at risk. and still in a held territory, supported by al qaeda, and they initially said there was no drought. a denial because in the part of the country that they are in charge, the drought is very serious, especially in southern sudan. then they did agree that the
drought was occurring and then said they would allow humanitarian organizations to come in to that area and to distribute food and medicine. however just last week they changed their position again. and we cannot have the political warlords as we saw in the 1990's with the original drought that the united states became involved in somalia, we cannot allow that situation to happen again. the world food program and the united nations are desperately trying to get the food, water, and medical assistance into that area. and we are going to continue to ask the al shabab people to allow the food to come in. during a similar drought in ethiopia during the early 1980's, the international community was slow to respond.
resulting in more than one million deaths. then world leaders said never again. now we are facing a worsening humanitarian disaster that threatens to take even more lives. we must act and support those in need. i have to commend usaid and the work that they are doing. yesterday at a hearing we had on this situation, ms. kromer from the usaid talked about the fact they had an early warning system and they had prepositioned food which shows that planning have resulted in less loss of life than would have been had they not been prepositioned. . but we still have a very serious problem. last week i introduced h.res. 361 calling attention to this crisis and we have already over 50 co-sponsors. indeed, congress' taking
notice. my colleague, jim mcgovern, jo ann emerson, members of the hunger caucus, along with myself and barbara lee and maxine waters and gwen moore and others have been very vocal on this issue. ms. mccollum also has added her voice from minnesota. the crisis is worsening though. the famine early warning system network believes within the next one or two months the famine will spread throughout all of southern somalia. as the situation has grown more dire, over 600,000 somalis have fled to neighboring countries, some walking hundreds of miles to refugee camps. the roads to these camps in northern kenya and eastern ethiopia have been described by "the washington post" and others as roads to death. thousands of women, children and elderly are left on the
side of the road, weak from malnutrition, unable to continue. they're resting on those who have already died. and so i ask all of you to respond to this very serious situation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes mr. goodlatte from virginia for five minutes. mr. goodlatte: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, march 2, 1995, was a pivotal day in the history of our country. on that day the united states senate failed by one vote to send a balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification. the amendment had passed the house by the required 2/3 majority previously and the senate vote was the last legislative hurdle before ratification by the states. if that amendment had passed, then we would not be dealing with the fiscal crisis we now face. if that amendment had passed, then balancing the budget would have been the norm rather than the exception over the past
decade and we would have nothing like the annual deficits and skyrocketing debt that we must address today. the good news is that like 1995 this congress is again standing at a crossroads at this very moment. the decisions we make this week could steer the direction of the country for many years to come. we have an opportunity now to take action to ensure that our children will face a much brighter fiscal picture. we must not allow ourselves to miss this opportunity. and while, yes, we definitely need to deal with the debt limit squarely in front of us and take the opportunity to make significant cuts in government spending, we also must have a long-term solution to this problem, and that long-term solution is a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution. we can, i hope, will have the
opportunity to vote on such an amendment this week. experience has proven time and again that congress cannot for any significant length of time rein in excessive spending. the annual deficits and the resulting debt continue to grow due to political pressures and dependency on government programs. in order for congress to be able to consistently make the very tough decisions necessary to sustain fiscal responsibility over the long term, congress must have an external pressure to force it to do so. the most realistic chance we have today to enact this type of institutional reform is through a balanced budget amendment to our constitution. many members of congress have introduced balanced budget amendments in this congress. i introduced two versions on the first day of the 112th congress. h.j.res. 2 is the exact text that passed the house in 1995 and failed in the senate by one vote.
this amendment requires that total annual outlays not exceed total annual receipts. it also requires a 3/5 majority to raise the debt limit, and in addition, this legislation has limited exceptions for times of war. h.j.res. 1, which i also introduced, goes much further. in addition to h.j.res. 2, it requires a 2/3 majority to raise taxes and prohibits spending from exceeding 18% of g.d.p. in the united states senate, 47 republican senators have co-sponsored a balanced budget amendment which is a strong sign that the senate is ready to engage in debate on this subject. our extraordinary fiscal crisis demands an extraordinary solution, so we simply cannot afford to succumb to political posturing on this issue at a point in time that is critical to our nation's future. we must rise above that and move forward with a strategy that includes legislation that
will get at least 290 bipartisan votes on the house floor. so as we consider a balanced budget amendment i encourage the members of this body on both sides of the aisle to devote our effort to passing the strongest balanced budget amendment that can garner 2/3 of the house of representatives. we are at a crossroads in america. we can make the tough choices and control spending, paving the way for a return to surpluses and ultimately paying down the national debt or we can allow big spenders to lead us further down the road of chronic deficits and leave our children and grandchildren saddled with debt that is not our own. the choice is ours. the stakes are high. failure is not an option. the speaker pro tempore: the chair now recognizes the gentlewoman from wisconsin, ms. moore. for five minutes. ms. moore: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to be able to add extraneous material.
the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. moore: mr. speaker, i had breakfast this morning. i had granola and yogurt, a little fruit, egg and bacon sandwich, and i'm feeling irritable because i didn't have my coffee. and i'm looking forward to a delicious lunch that i planned at about noontime. but in the meantime, on the horn of africa, 11 million people are facing starvation and not because they're lazy people or unworthy people but because they're suffering from the biggest drought that they have seen in 60 years, because they're experiencing flooding, because there are people who
stepped away from the loving care that we usually extend to other of our brothers and sisters, others who are human beings on this planet. tens of thousands of people will die. there is an official famine that's been called by the united nations. for those of you who know what a famine is, it's not when you don't have a particular thing like me. i didn't have my particular coffee this morning. famine exists when at least 20% of the population has extremely limited access to food. global acute malnutrition exceeds 30%. and the death rate exceeds more than 2,000 people a day. a seven 7-month-old somali boy weighed any amount of any of our newborns.
a 7-month-old boy weighed seven pounds. that's an example of what happens in a drought. and what are we doing here in the united states of america, the world's largest humanitarian donor? when the united nations has called for on july 20, has asked for more than $1. billion to support the humanitarian response in the next 12 months urgently, desperately needed to address this burgeoning humanitarian crisis that is unfolding? we are in the midst of cutting funding to our -- of our foreign aid and peace food budget. the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriation budget, the bill that passed a few weeks ago over my opposition, cut this program by $200 million. it was heartbreaking to see
amendment after amendment after amendment come forward that cut it further and even amendments to eliminate it completely. as the united states, largest food humanitarian donor, we need to do more. we talk about balanced budget here, and there are people in this world, our brothers and sisters, who don't even have a balanced meal on a day-to-day basis. mr. speaker, i would ask that we not become numb to the conditions of peoples around the world. less than 1% of our budget goes toward foreign aid, and that includes operations of the state department and everything, mr. speaker. i'm asking that in these discussions of debt and deficits that we do not turn an eye and a deaf ear to those
people who are starving. and, of course, before i yield back my time, i just want to mention, mr. speaker, that, of course, we know who suffers disproportionately among the poor. the usual suspects -- women and children are disproportionately represented among those who are food insecure, those who are starving and those who die, and with that i would yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes at this time the gentleman from california, mr. herger, for five minutes. mr. herger: six days, mr. speaker, six days until we exceed the debt limit and we still haven't seen a plan from the white house. however, we have the first 2 1/2 years of his administration
as an example of the future he wants for america. the president's policies display his commitment to unchecked government spending. the president supports massive tax hikes on a nation already enduring the worst jobless recovery since the great depression. the president is content to ignore our entimement crisis. his actions -- his entitlement crisis. his actions have put this nation in worse shape than when he took office. we've seen failure in leadership from the white house. he threaten to veto the commonsense solutions of cut, cap and balance. the reasons, by his own words, he wants a debt limit increase to carry him through the next election. mr. speaker, the american people have had enough.
we need action and we need it now. no more speeches, no more rhetoric. the american people deserve to know what the president's plan is. it's time for president obama to come to the negotiating table and work with us. we're running a $1.6 trillion deficit, borrowing 40 cents of every $1 we spend. without action we can guarantee our children and combrand children a future far -- grandchildren a future far less bright than the one our parents left us. republicans are here to make tough decisions, cut spending and reform the way business is done in washington. we're ready with solutions that would turn around our debt crisis and begin getting america back to work. but these solutions will remain a fantasy as long as the
president's focus remains on politics and re-election rather than the good of the american people. we have six days left. it's time to act. the speaker pro tempore: the chair at this time recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. higgins, for five minutes. mr. higgins: mr. speaker, i rise to celebrate the life of james t. malloy. many knew him as the last door keeper of the house of representatives. western new yorkers know jim as a proud third generation irish american and a proud career public servant. jim was born on june 3, 1936. he was raised in south buffalo and paid his way through kinesha college. he worked in the green elevator on buffalo's waterfront on the
-- for the city fire department. he worked for the city of buffalo and the city of lackawanna. jim came to washington, d.c. in 1968 at the invitation of congressman john rooney. he managed the house finance office until 1974 when he was elected door keeper of the house. he held this position until it was eliminated in 1995. as the last door keeper of the house, jim was a member of an elite group. only 34 people served in this position in our 215-year history. he oversaw more than 400 employees and administered a budget of $6.8 million. he introduced presidents and heads of state and coordinated 71 joint sessions of congress. . regrettably i did not have the honor of serving during his tenure, but he was a friend and endless source of help and advice. i had long been inspired in my own service by his strong commitment to this institution. in fact, numerous western new yorkers were inspired to
consider political careers thanks to jim malloy. it was well-known that jim had a particular affection for helping western new yorkers visiting the capitol and young buffaloians looking for work in our nation's capitol as well. jim was recognized on numerous occasions for his service. he received the outstanding citizen award from the united states afl-cio. the president's award from the new york federation of police. he received an honorary doctor of laws degree and was named the congressional staffer of the year award by roll call. in 19 -- in 2005, i was a proud sponsor of legislation that was signed into law naming a post office on self park avenue in our shared neighborhood of south buffalo after james t. malloy. the loss will be felt for many years to come by all who knew him. at this time, mr. speaker, i ask for a moment of silence in honor
of a servant of this institution, james t. malloy. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from illinois, ms. schakowsky, for five minutes. ms. schakowsky: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today as a member of the progressive caucus to draw attention to the devastating effects that could be caused if the united states were to default on its debts. first, let's be clear that raising the debt ceiling will have no effect whatsoever on any new spending that the congress might do. it simply giving the government authority to pay its bills. to pay its bills. for obligations that the congress has already authorized. second, while republicans have attempted time and time again to pin the current deficit on
president obama, the facts cannot be denied. it was the policies of the bush years that got us here. it was just a decade ago that president clinton left office not with just a balanced budget but a surplus. and the congressional budget office declared in 2001, quote, the outlook for the federal budget over the next decade continues to be bright. that quote of course came before the 2001 bush tax cuts were signed into law. two wars that weren't paid for, put on the credit card. two tax cuts that weren't paid for and that mainly benefited the wealthy, and a devastating recession that may have been prevented had government regulators not turned a blind eye to wall street greed. the bush policies ran up the bills. those are the bills our country is committed to pay and those are the bills that need to be paid. if the full faith and credit of the united states is to be protected. now this republican manufactured crisis could be solved in five
minutes. if we simply pass a clean debt ceiling increase, like we did eight times during the bush administration, 18 times under ronald reagan, and then turned our attention immediately to ways to put our fiscal house in order. focusing on the real crisis which is the jobs crisis. instead republicans are choosing to hold our nation's financial standing hostage with potentially devastating consequences. allowing a default on the debt would essentially be a tax on every american family. interest rates on everything from mortgages and auto loans to credit cards and small business loans would immediately sore -- soar. a conservative estimate suggests the effect of an increase in interest rates could cost a homeowner with a 30-year mortgage of $1 2,000 an additional $19,100 more over the life of the loan.
a drop in the stock market would hit the savings and retirement accounts of middle class americans. less available credit for small businesses and consumers, and lower economic growth that could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. in addition, if the country can't pay its bills, an unthinkable scenario, becomes a reality. having to choose between what aspects of the government to fund and what bills to pay. 70 million checks are due to go out next wednesday. those include social security and veterans, and our military families, and these checks are threatened. that is the threat the republicans are willing to make, holding the full faith and credit of the united states hostage in order to push for extreme policies that would gut social security and medicare and medicaid and devastate the economy and the middle class in order to protect hedge fund managers and corporations that ship our jobs overseas. that is what the republicans are advocating, but they are not willing to ask for one penny
more for millionaires and billionaires. we need to deal with our fiscal challenges, and i have offered proposals for how to do that and the way to protect the social safety net and what is now the disappearing middle class. first, we need to create jobs. putting back -- people back to work will raise revenues and bring down the deficit as a proportion of the economy. second, we need to eliminate spending we don't need. such as billions of dollars in waste spent by the pentagon, but we need to protect spending and vital programs like social security, medicare, and medicaid. and finally, we need to raise revenues in a fair way. i have introduced the fairness and taxation act, h.r. 1124, which would create new taxes -- new tax brackets beginning at 45% for income over $1 million a year and rising to 49% for income at $1 billion a year.
yes, there are americans who make that. and according to an estimate by citizens for tax justice, my legislation could raise as much as $800 billion over the next 10 years. those are the types of proposals that should be considered so that we can achieve fiscal responsibility in a way that protects seniors and children and the middle class and all those who aspire to it. right now the american dream itself is at stake. it is slipping through the hands of people that used to be middle class. we cannot tolerate that. we need to raise the debt ceiling. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. it's a difficult time to talk because ms. schakowsky has said just about everything i was
planning to say. she said it extremely well and said the issue. it basically comes down to fairness and justice to the american people and the president who has been burdened with problems caused by the bush, republican congress and the bush years, wars in iraq, wars in afghanistan not paid for, prescription drug bill not paid for, and bush tax cuts for wealthiest americans which have caused most of the deficit, and the problem with the debt ceiling. now we are not calling on them to make some sacrifice and pay for it. most everybody in america knows about dieting. most of us are a little overweight. michelle obama will tell you that any day. we need to watch our weight. but when you go to diet, you got to reduce your calories, and you got to exercise some more. spend some calories, reduce some calories. that's the way you diet. the same thing with the budget. you got a problem at home with your budget, well, maybe you think i won't take that vacation
and go to miami beach and stay in that three star hotel, i'll go to fort walton and stay in a two star hotel and maybe get another job or work some more overtime. increase your income, you decrease your spending. and you get it together. this congress, though, has got the problem because in dealing with this and the debt ceiling is independent of all of it, many members of the congress on the republican side have pledged not to raise revenue. you've got to do both. you got to cut some things and you cut some things that don't decrease your ability to increase jobs later on, or increase jobs now. and you increase revenue at the same time. you have to do both. and some of the republicans have pledged never to do revenue. well, that means they got one arm tied behind their back. never increase revenue. you come to the table and you try to get a bargain, you negotiate in politics, you got to have both hands at the table. one give, one take. both sides have to come. open palms. friendship. no guns. here we are.
but they got one hand tied behind their back. that's the problem we've got. so we are not being able to negotiate because one side comes ill-equipped, unprepared, incapable. last week we had a new member here, california, miss hohn, and -- ms. hahn, and the speaker read her and she pledged to support and swear to support the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic. we got a domestic enemy right now. it's the idea we are not going to pay our debt, the full faith and credit of the united states goes by, interest rates go up. jobs go down. credit card rates go up, home mortgage rates go up, 401-k's go down, stock market drops 10%, yet we are not doing t we are considering a pledge to some third party person that said, no new revenue. arm behind my back instead of i will support the united states against all enemies foreign and domestic. that's the problem we've got. had a town hall last night on
the telephone. my constituents can't understand why we have the problem. i tried to explain it to them. they are concerned about their social security checks coming, their veterans checks coming. they could be cut off if we don't get this done and we don't have money to pay our debt. people living simply on social security are endangered, yet millionaires and millionaires go on. hedge fund guys, they are earn billions of dollars, millions, billions for some, pay 15%. something called carried interest on their income. 15%, but the average person out there is paying 25%, 26%, 34% at the most. 15% for the richest guys in new york spending money outrageously. and the ones almost brought this economy down. somebody asked me is this thing going to pass? i don't know. but i tell you this, in my life, and i hope nobody out here has that situation, mr. speaker, i have had kidney stones, they are easier to pass than this. thank you, mr. speaker.
the speaker pro tempore: at this time the chair recognizes the gentleman from indiana, mr. pence, for five minutes. mr. pence: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. pence: mr. speaker, this is a difficult time in the life of the people of this country. families are hurting. our economy is struggling. the economic policies of this administration have failed to turn around this great recession as it has come to be known. and i believe that run away federal spending, deficits, and debt are a barrier to our economic recovery. a barrier to putting americans back to work. we have to change the fiscal
direction of this government for this generation, for jobs for americans today, and for future generations. who are facing a mountain range of debt. $14 trillion national debt. $1.65 trillion deficit this year alone. what most of my colleagues know, i fought against run away spending on a bipartisan basis. i opposed big government plans when they were offered by republican presidents and in republican congresses. i thought -- fought with equal vigor with the spending, bailouts, and takeovers of the recent democrat congress and this administration. but now we come to another debt ceiling vote. and as the late russell kirk wrote, politics is the art of the possible. the american people are looking in and they know if you odette
you pay debts. we have -- if you owe debt you pay debts. we have to find a way to pay the bill. the american people also know we have to find a way to set our nation on a course of living within our means once again. now, i am still studying speaker boehner's proposal. but there is much that recommends it. i have long said there should be no increase in the debt ceiling without real and meaningful spending cuts and reforms in the short term and in the long term. and in many respects the deal negotiated with senate leaders by speaker boehner meets that standard. there are no tax increases in the bill. after adjustments to the bill today there will for certain, according to c.b.o., be dollar for dollar cuts for any increase in the debt ceiling. also there are spending caps, a commission, and the possibility of long-term entitlement reform. all of this commends the boehner plan as an important first step
towards fiscal discipline and reform. you'll also recall at some point vote for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. it's my belief in the importance of that last element that brings me to the floor today. i rise to urge all of my colleagues to keep an open mind on the boehner plan. but also to keep an open mind about bringing a balanced budget amendment to the floor that could enjoy broad bipartisan support. . look, washington, d.c., is not only broke, it's broken. the american people have seen both political parties run up deficits and debt. both political parties live outside the means of the american people and they know in their heart of hearts that something is missing. i believe that's a balanced budget amendment to the constitution of the united states.
now, i've authored the spending limit amendment to the constitution. i support the stout version of a balanced budget amendment that republicans marked up and referenced in the cut, cap and balance bill, a spending limit cap, a supermajority on tax increases. but i don't think it takes any great insight to know that that bill will likely get the 290 votes it needs to send it to the senate and send it to the state. so in addition to voting on that bill with spending constraints and others, i believe the time has come to bring the historic balanced budget amendment back to the floor of the congress. i believe there should be no increase in the debt ceiling unless this congress does everything in its power to send a balanced budget amendment to the senate and to the states for ratification. and i believe we have that moment. i've talked to some of the most
prominent members of the democrat minority in this congress today, and they've expressed support for this amendment. the american people overwhelmingly support a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. and so i urge my colleagues to keep an open mind. keep an open mind to the boehner plan. i'm continuing to study it and seeing if we can embrace it as an important first step on fiscal discipline and reform, finding a way to pay the nation's bills to change our fiscal direction. but i also encourage my colleagues to consider at some point in the near future, let us bring to this floor a balanced budget amendment that could enjoy broad bipartisan support, to know we can not only make progress for fiscal discipline and reform but we can make history by restoring to the national charter or placing in the national charter those restraints on spending that this nation's capital
under both parties so desperately needs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. thank you, mr. pence. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california, ms. waters, for five minutes. ms. waters: thank you, mr. speaker. i move to strike the last word. for the first time in american history, we are at the brink of compromising the full faith and credit of the united states government. the pledge that america has made to be the strongest, most trustworthy economy in the world, the promise that we will always keep our word and pay back the money we've already spent. and why are we on the brink of a default crisis? it is because -- is it because of a natural disaster that's devastated our nation? is it because of a catastrophic national security threat? is it because of another meltdown of our financial system like the one we saw in 2008? no. the default crisis is for none
of these reasons. instead, it is a crisis wholly manufactured by my republicans colleagues who are holding our economy hostage to pursue a radical agenda. this is an agenda that seeks to continue the bush policies of wars and tax cuts paid for by undoing the new deals, shrinking the social safety net and pulling the rug out from under millions of americans who are still struggling to recover from a financial crisis that was created by wall street. mr. speaker, the debt ceiling is being used as political lempling to pursue this agenda. remember, the debt ceiling was raised 18 times under president reagan and seven times under president george bush. instead of this phony crisis, we should be debating the real crisis facing this nation. the crisis that is consistently named as the number one concern
of american taxpayers. that is the jobs crisis. today about 14 million people are unemployed. wages are declining and home values are still plummeting. the unsurprising result is consumers aren't buying. businesses don't need to hire as many workers, and the cycle continues. in minority communities, these problems are even worse. with over 16% of african-americans and 11% of hispanics out of work. in fact, just yesterday the pew research center reported that while all households lost wealth during the recession, minority families experienced disproportionate losses and the wealth gap between minorities and white households is actually growing. the medium wealth of u.s. households in 2009 was $13,000
compared to just over $6,000 for hispanics and $5,600 for african-americans. but to hear my republican colleagues, it's as if these unemployed americans are living in the shadows instead of the communities we represent. because of instead of pursuing a jobs agenda, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have proposed a continuation of failed bush policies. this time on steroids. first under the ryan budget and now under these debt ceiling hostage negotiations, my republican colleagues are pushing to cut medicare, social security, medicaid and job-creating domestic programs no matter the cost. mr. speaker, now is the time to invest in our communities, not retreat. we need jobs to get people employed and get them back paying taxes to pay down our
deficit. in fact, the congressional progressive caucus is happy to provide for you, mr. speaker, with a long list of ways to create jobs. we can create a new civilian conservation corps. we can close tax loopholes and bring jobs back from overseas. we can encourage investments in the new green economy, and we can provide incentives for businesses to train and hire the long-term unemployed. and guess what, we can do this while balancing the budget. in fact, the people's budget offered by the congressional progressive caucus can balance our books at least 10 years before the ryan budget. mr. speaker, i encourage my colleagues to stand opposed to republican efforts to perpetuate this default crisis and balance our budget on the backs of seniors and the middle class. it will amount to an unmitigated and unprecedented
disaster to not only americans' reputation but to our capital markets, our job-creating businesses and our economic recovery. mr. speaker, i held two town hall meetings this past weekend on saturday. one in the city of engelwood. one in the area of westchester. they made it very, very clear that they want us to increase this debt limit. they want us to get about the business of creating jobs. they want to close tax loopholes for the richest corporations in america that receive tax breaks under the bush administration. they're sick of us paying with this issue. they want us to do the people's business. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until noon today.
>> in our business most of the places we compete are in the 15% to 17% statutory rate, and as we know with other special incentives, those rates can be lower. my view of that, my concern about that would be finding that rate that would make it competitive or make it neutral and i think it would be below that low 20% range. the general concept would be very positive because it would simplify life and bring the dollars and put them back to work here in the u.s. >> again, acknowledging that we are a domestic company, some of
your question really doesn't specifically apply to -- >> you are at a 38.9% effective tax rate. according to the finance committee figures. under this for job creation in the united states, you would be -- want to be a very, very substantial rate reduction. >> and i think that that supports our goal of doing more in terms of products and services and accelerating our investments in our infrastructure which will create jobs. and i think the question to my other panelists, i certainly concur with them and i think that overall tax reform that does benefit multinationals in terms of bringing those dollars back to stimulate economic growth accompanied by a meaningful corporate tax rate reduction makes all the sense in the world. >> my time is up, mr. chairman. i just want to say i'm very
interested with working with you, mr. chairman, and senator hatch, on that point senator hatch made with respect to when we have a block tax reform bill that we have some way to try to keep in place that good work and we don't unravel it so as to create uncertainty. i thought senator hatch's point is a very good one. i'm interested in working with you. >> thank you. senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for coming. i have with interest read your testimony. let me start with mr. duke. you have my former chief of staff working for you now, and i have come to be proselytized because if i read one more email that says save money, look better, -- talk about branding. he does a great job for you. and did a great job for me. let me pick up on a point that
we had a hearing yesterday and it was a deficit hearing. my colleague, senator conrad, made a, what i thought, a very good point. he pointed out that interest rates matter. and he said a sustained one point increase in interest rates would cost the federal government more than $1 trillion over the next decade. that's from the governmental side. and i noticed that you were one of those c.e.o.'s who signed the chamber of commerce letter warning of the danger of default and in part that letter says, treasury securities influence the cost of financing not just for companies but more importantly for mortgages, auto loans, credit card, and student debt. default risk both disarray in those markets and a host of unintended consequences.
my question is, beyond what it will cost the government, what would be the impact of a default on interest rates for your customers? and if they are increased by this self-inflicted wound with the default, which we still hope and pray we can prevent, what do you think that would do to the purchasing power on your sales and companies like yours? >> senator menendez, i thank you again for your comments about our colleague. and i appreciate the training that you provided. that worked very well. related to this i would have to first represent our consumers, our customers shopping in the store as across america they are watching the events take place here in washington. and there is both a real and a perceived. i think both reality and perception have to be considered. higher interest rates clearly would have an effect on consumption. and so the ability of the
consumer to regain confidence, to start then reinvesting themselves, families across america, is important. a default and the ripple effect i think would be impactful, and representing our consumers we think that that would be very, very difficult for the american economy to withstand at this point in time in our history. the other factor is consumer confidence. i'm out every week talking to customers in our stores. when i'm talking to the customers that are shopping in our stores, i'm not getting a sense of confidence. so i measure my own consumer confidence when i'm out talking to our consumers and with the situation in the economy, with the job situation, and other factors facing consumers, i think a default at this time would be devastating in that both reality and perception of consumers.
>> i appreciate that. mr. marlo, i want to follow on my colleague, i think was referring to in terms of reprattation of foreign profits, i understand that c.v.s. caremark is not necessarily in that category, do you say in your testimony you are paying almost an effective 35% rate. and in essence by paying a high effective rate seems to me that your company and others similarly situated is basically paying for the burden of loopholes and avoidance behaviors of other companies. so do you believe that aggressive use of avoidance methods by competitors or the ability of companies to be able to take their overseas earnings and convert them in to -- into
tax benefits here at home that ultimately provide them with a much lower effective rate, and you still paying a higher effective rate is a fair set of competitive standards? >> i think it certainly does create some competitive challenges for us. acknowledging that we compete with domestic companies as well as foreign nationals. that have the opportunity to have a lower tax rate. i think that goes back to the theme of this hearing in terms of we support an overall corporate tax reform review that would reduce our overall rate. i would like to go back and just tag on to something that mr. duke mentioned about consumer confidence and bringing us back to the health care space. because we do see evidence of consumers today making decisions about when to get their maintenance prescription for a chronic condition filled, and we see evidence that they are
getting it filled later. which means they are not taking their medications as prescribed. in many cases dropping off those therapies. we would be very concerned with any additional declines in consumer confidence and the impact that would have on the health of americans. >> i appreciate that. i would like to work, mr. chairman, in our effort to repatriate foreign assets and do it in a way that induce companies to do so. but when i hear the choice is 5% as the rate to return that money on, it's very hard to tell a new jerseyan making -- who is paying $25% or higher in a tax bracket, we are going to do a 5% rate for repatriation of foreign corporate assets. unless there is some connection to job creation that is tangible, the last time we did this on a holiday basis, we didn't get the jobs. it's problematic.
i'm one of those. sign me up in the column that wants to find a way which we can have nearly $1 trillion of private sector investment in our country repratted but do it in a way -- repatriated but do it in a way that creates jobs. i thank you for your testimony. the speaker pro tempore: thank you, senator menendez. senator thune. >> thank you, mr. chairman. for holding the hearing today and senator hatch, i think this is -- i appreciate our witnesses being willing to offer your expertise and insights. i think it's interesting that all four of the witnesses today agree on both the urgent need for tax reform as well as the direction in which we need to move, and that is a lower corporate rate and territorial tax system that doesn't impose a second layer of taxation on the foreign earnings of u.s. companies. and also pointing out that the united states really is an outliar when you look at that. we got the second highest corporate tax rate in the world.
we are the only one now that has a worldwide tax system. i think the combination of those two factors make it very difficult for u.s. companies to compete. as we begin to look at changing a tax reform bill, i hope we take into consideration the testimony provided by our witnesses today and look at lowering rates, broadening the base, and putting american companies in a position where they can compete better globally. just a question, this may be a tough question for you to answer, and i throw it out there to anybody, but i'm interested in knowing from each of you if there is any targeted tax benefit you would be willing to give up if it were necessary to do so in order to lower our corporate tax rate to a level commensurate with our major competitors and move toward a territorial tax system? that's the whole debate right now. what do we do, tax expenditures, tax preferences. if we close some of those loopholes, in order to be able to lower rates, we may have the
necessity of closing some of those loopholes or doing away with some of those targeted tax benefits. i want to know if any of you have observations about things you would be willing to give up. >> senator thune, we are willing to look at every benefit. believe that they all should be on the table for discussion. we do as multinational company receive some benefit. we are not into heavy r&d investment as a regional company, but there are benefits that we receive today that we think should be looked at as a part of an overall comprehensive plan. >> i would add that i believe it is possible to have revenue neutral corporate tax reform. we know the fiscal crisis isn't easy, this shouldn't add to it. so i think everything should be on the table. and again i would err in favor of lowering the rate. if we can get the combined federal and state rate in the u.s. under 25%, which would imply a federal rate of 22% or
23%, i think a lot of these incentives become much less important. >> one of the hallmarks of the increasingly global nature of the u.s. economy is the fact that larger and large percentage of the revenue is earned outside the united states. there are those who view this as a negative and an indication that u.s. companies are moving operations abroad. and there are others i think who believe that it's a necessity. in a world where 95% of the consumers and 75% of global purchasing power outside our borders, but could each of you describe briefly or discuss what this grid or reliance on foreign revenue means for u.s. jobs? do you view that to be as a positive or negative thing? >> i'll start. we are already about 80% overseas, so we kind of live and breathe this type of
international footprint every day. and i don't -- i don't view it a necessity. i think it's an opportunity. it's an opportunity for things for us to take things that we invent here or that we grow here and offer those products and services around the world and bet fit from that and leverage u.s. -- benefit from that and leverage u.s. jobs and efforts to realize those gains. so this certainly is not evil, it's not a necessity. it's a wonderful opportunity. the growth potential outside of the u.s. far exceeds what's available inside the u.s. we should pursue all of those. >> anybody else care to comment on that? foreign investment? good thing, bad thing? >> i think it's a good thing. we want the u.s. to be a competitive place to invest. we want u.s. economies companies to be competitive players in the global economy. and so as the economies outside the u.s. are growing faster, we want u.s. companies to be winners in those markets as well. that's got to be good for jobs
in the u.s. long term. >> this is for i guess mr. duke or mr. merlo, because your companies are in the retail business, you boat have high effective tax rates. what does it mean when you compete abroad against companies that are not u.s. based and i guess comes back more specifically to the question that when -- who are your major competitors? and where are they headquartered? what challenges does the tax system present for you as you seek to expand new markets around the world? >> senator, i could quickly name three large multinational retailers that we compete against around the world. tusco from the u.k., car 4 from france, and metro from germany. and it's interesting because we aring often competing for specific real estate sites to build new stores in markets around the world.
that means there is an advantage in the calculation of return on investment. their return would be a lower rate, an example tesco in china we would compete against frequently, and the 25% rate of tax in china would be all that they would pay. we would pay the 25% and then the additional 10% when -- as far as the u.s. rate. we also, it comes into play related to even acquiring a business, and then as i mentioned tesco is now building stores and growing in the united states. we are actually opening the door for foreign retailers to have an easier entry to compete in the united states against u.s.-based retailers. >> senator, i think mr. duke is spot on. the only thing i would add is we have other companies out there that operates food-drug combos
here in the u.s., the same principles that mr. duke mentioned apply. and create some competitive challenges. >> thank you. my time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thank you. senator conrad. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you very much for holding this hearing. i think it's so important. i was part of the fiscal commission as was the chairman of the committee. i have been part of the group of six. both of them concluded you got to have fundamental tax reform to broaden the base, to lower rates, help us be more competitive. at the same time to raise some additional revenue, to couple with entitlement reform and to couple with domestic spending reductions in order to get our debt down. that is the fundamental framework of both the fiscal commission and group of six. i'd just like quickly to ask each of you, does that
fundamental framework make sense to you. mr. duke? >> senator, the fundamental framework of debt reduction and fiscal responsibility certainly makes sense. and the comprehensive corporate tax reform we think is important. we do believe that all of this should be looked at on a long-term perspective. i think the earlier other members of the discussion today mentioned the uncertainty. that's why our interest is in a long-term comprehensive tax reform plan that we think would be able to lay out what the future would look like for american companies. >> very important. let me just say fundamental tax reform, i don't believe, can be done in six weeks or six months. i believe fundamental tax reform is such a complicated undertaking would take us well into next year. joint taxes just told us they couldn't score fundamental tax reform within the next six months because they don't have a model that would allow them to
do that. mr. falk, in terms of basic structure to get our assets and debt, do you favor what the commission and the group of six have proposed? >> it makes sense to me. i echo mr. duke's comments. i once again it's taken us more than a generation to get to this point in time. so there are going to be a lot of things that have to be dealt with to correct our problems and get our fiscal house in order moving forward. >> i would agree with the comments made here. highlight those fiscally responsible apreach to addressing some of the major issues we have today. >> mr. merlo, i agree with the panelists. there's no question comprehensive reform will have to be thoughtful. it's got to have a lot of elements to consider. and just emphasize the point about predictibility and sernt i think is a key byproduct of the decisionmaking process. >> i appreciate that. let me go to a question on repatriation.
because i have asked my staff to look into what happened in the last repatriation. here's what happened they report to me. a number of empirical analysis have been undertaken to see the use of repatriatings investments and jobs. these studies found no evidence that firms used repatriated earnings to significantly increase domestic capital investment, employment, or research and development. rather earnings were largely used to ben company shareholders through stock repurchase programs, even though this was explicitly prohibited by the measure. the memo goes on to say, researchers also found specifically with regard to employment that a number of firms repatriating funds actually reduced employment in their domestic operations in the period after they repatriated funds.
for instance, tax economist martin sullivan found that three of the top five firms in terms of the dollar amount of repatriation reduced u.s. employment in 2005 and 2006. i won't name the companies. but we've got it all laid out here. i just say to you that clearly fundamental tax reform needs to include how we are dealing with worldwide income. in the reagan administration i served on a mission on taxing international corporate earnings. it was one of the most interesting negotiations i was ever part of. it made this negotiation on the debt ceiling look relatively easy. but let me just say that the argument that had been made by some in repatriation that it's going to create jobs here, we did it. it didn't produce jobs here. that's the overwhelming evidence.
that doesn't mean we shouldn't do fundamental tax reform. because if we are going to be competitive, we got to get in the game. and our tax code was designed at a time when we did not have to worry about the competitive position of the united states. we were fully dominant when this tax code was developed. i don't think anybody if they were going to sit down and devise a tax code for the united states in 2011 or 2012, would come up with one that looked anything like this one. my time has expired. i thank the panel for their testimony. >> thanks very much. for your work on the commission, gang of six. i don't think anybody disagrees with the last statement. clearly time to overhaul an antiquated tax code. that's clear. it's not going to be easy. one thing i learned around here abtractions are easy. sometimes abstractions are cruelty. because it's the specifics that
really count. for example, a lot of talk about lowering the rate broad base. current corporate rate, 35%, federal, how much could the rate be lowered if all tax expenditures were eliminated? you don't get very far. stick with the territorial system. you don't get very far. maybe you get down to 29%. approximately. then next question is what about interest expense? do you want to eliminate interest expense? eliminate interest expense? then we make a little head way. get the rate down quite significantly. i suspect all these other countries the other tax systems which allow those companies to raise revenue because revenue is a percent of g.d.p. is higher in those countries. including problem -- probably business revenue compared to the
united states. i don't know. i have to research this. but it could well be that combination of income taxes, and so forth. so it's not easy to get the rate down to levels that people talk about, save 25% corporate rate or lower. it's not easy at all. the next set of questions, which potential expenditures, if you will, are you willing to give up? theoretically everybody gives up everything. but there are some specifics. for example, i know mr. duke, wal-mart, you work through tax credit is pretty important to your company. mr. falk, i suspect section 199 is important. and for you, mr. lang, clearly are the tax credits are pretty important. so i'm asking if each of you are willing to give each of those up
for your companies. as long as everything's given up, then we get to the questions that i think senator stabin now -- stabin know touched on. if canada is giving such a great set to r&d, if we give up our r&d tax credit, will a lower rate make the united states semiconductor companies sufficiently competitive so they can deal with or offset that canadian effect. i would like you-all to think it over. tell me you are willing to give up some of the provisions are use currently. mr. duke. >> mr. chairman, with the -- first the overall lower corporate tax rate that would be competitive in the global marketplace such as in the mid 20's, for example, then we would be willing to look at every aspect of those incentives that we participate in.
we believe that all should be on the table for discussion. >> so you are basically saying, are you willing to give it up as long as your rate, your headline rate, corporate rate is say mid 20's or something like that? >> yes, sir. if we are competitive against other markets that we are competing against. >> mr. falk. >> i mentioned in my comments we take advantage of the r&d credit, we take advantage of the manufacturing credit. we spend about half a billion dollars in capital in this country every year to take advantage of depreciation. as the rate drops from near 40% to 22%, 23%, or 25%. >> talking about the federal. >> yeah. you start -- those incentives are a lot less valuable. >> mr. lang? >> i just in the semiconductor industry association working group we had this exact conversation. i would agree that everything should be on the table. we should look at it as a whole package and look at what the end result is. there is a number of things are
manufacturing incentives to acceleration on appreciation, etc., that were things at the right rates would be worth putting aside. i think agreeing with other folks on the panel everything, we should look at everything. at the end of the day the overall system needs to be competitive and allow us to compete in the global marketplace. >> we are loog going to look at everything. -- we are going to look at everything. i'm asking you for guidance here, especially your industry, is 25% sufficient to compete with the canadians who have that rate? assuming you don't have that rate. >> i think for our industry the primary competitors are going to be in asia, and the effective rates there, the statutory rates are 15% to 17%, often lower than that on an effective basis. i'm concerned when we look at the details and go through the details a mid 20% rate won't be competitive from a semiconductor
industry. >> you are concerned mid 20 might not compete in asia? >> that's my belief. >> ok. mr. merlo. >> i agree with everything that's already been said. i think everything should be on the table. that's going to be an imperative in terms of semifiling the tax code. >> my time has expired. senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's nice to talk about everything being on the table. but there are certainly things that do make it competitive with the rest of the world. without which and without any guarantee that the corporate rates are going to stay down. we have to consider all of this and consider how this works in the future as well. let me just ask this question for the entire panel. considering corporate tax reform, the focus is typically on the corporate tax provisions in our code. how important is it to focus on the impact corporate tax reform we have on the companies' financial statements? for instance, if the corporation
as a net operating loss, or n.o.l., that it carries forward from year to year, it can offset taxable income in future years. those they can be -- it can be a very valuable asset to your company. now, that is the n.o.l. can reduce taxes in future years so if a corporation has $100 n. oorks l. it reduce given our 35% tax rate, corporate taxes by $35. thus the corporations under current financial accounting rules rightly state that a $100 of n.o.l. is an asset to company holds worth $35. however if the corporate rate were reduced to 25%, then this n.o.l. asset would only be worth $25. now, that is in some real sense the corporation would lose $10 by virtue of the corporate tax rate going down 10 percentage points. this $10 reduction would immediately show up as a $10 reduction in the corporation's net income that would lower the
corporation's earnings per share very supportive of the corporate tax cut. no question about that. i would hope the effort to reduce the corporate tax rate would not be slowed down by these financial accounting considerations. however, i can't understand those are real concerns that you have to be concerned with. now, and the r&d tax credit is absolutely critical. you point out 13 times, both the chairman and i have worked very hard. i'd like to make that permanent because i think it would give you a competitive advantage in the rest of the world because of the invan holleniveness and creativity of the american scientists and works especially -- invan hollenive -- inventiveness and creativity of american scientists and workers specifically.
should we take into consideration the financial accounting impact of reform? >> senator, first i think in the whole discussion of lowering the overall rate say from 35 to 25, as we discussed even related to the incentives and credits, we recognize that there has to be tradeoffs. that for the formula to work. we believe that the same would apply to your question about the n.o.l. it's worth it to have a permanent long-term corporate tax comprehensive revision that would have a competitive rate in the global marketplace and that transition related to the questions about n.o.l. as well as credits we think would be worth the challenge. >> my comment, senator, would be i would say do the right thing for the country and the accountants will figure it out. and so i wouldn't worry about the financial implications of this. i would say far more companies
have a net different tax liability from taking advantage of things like accelerated depreciation, as those reverse at lower tax rates, they'll enjoy an economic benefit from this change. i would love the accounting -- wouldn't let the accounting getting in the way of doing the right decision for the united states of america. >> we are is one of those companies that has n.o.l.'s on our balance sheet. and i would agree with the statements here we should do the right thing to make america competitive. do the right thing for the long-term structure of the business and let the accountants figure out how the financial accounting is impacted. >> senator, i am certainly not an accountant and i agree with my colleagues in terms of let the finance folks figure it out. and we'll have our staff get back with your staff on any further comments on that. >> this would be great. there are a lot of complexities in trying to change the tax code. it's not too complex to realize
we have to be competitive with the g-8 and g-20 and i'd like to be more competitive. and i believe if we did that, you folks would create more jobs. you would create more opportunities. you would create more products to sell. i just seen you-all these years, you're terrific at what you do. there are always a lot of tradeoffs in these type of issues. we'll just have to see what we can do. this has been a particularly very valuable panel as far as i'm concerned. i want to thank you all for being here. >> thanks. thank you. regrettably i have to leave. senator wyden, you can -- it's all yours. >> mr. chairman, i had one other question, i think. >> go ahead. >> mr. duke, i was struck by your point with respect to your ultimate desire to have a tax rate in the mid 20's.
to me that is very much in the ballpark for tax reform and have tried to work with chairman baucus and colleagues on this for a lot of years. let me walk you through how i'm looking at the math and we like to work with all your folks on this. because deferral is so much money, like $500 billion over 10, you get rid of that, and it is such a large amount, and you use that to slash rates dramatically in the united states, and i'm absolutely convinced you can get in the mid 20's. and you also have the benefit of less gaming and a more straightforward system. my concern about going to a territorial system, and i put myself to sleep at night trying to understand all the aspects of territorial, is that you keep a
lot of the complexity in the system, you'll have lots of gaming and really permanently, the question of transfer pricing, where somebody generates a sale one place, books the profit somewhere else. but except -- especially you'll have more business overseas. rather than what chairman baucus started us off with in terms of more incentives for jobs in the united states. and i personally think it will be pretty hard to get the rate in the mid 20's if you go to that kind of system. i wasn't able to figure it out and a lot of people a lot smarter than me. is it fair to say at the end of the day that you all are willing to work through a lot of these concepts so we can get to the point we started with with chairman baucus's question so we
have more american jobs and greater level of competitiveness in these tough global markets? you-all are still open on the design of some of these compounds? >> yes, sir. we are clearly open for discussion and development of these -- i will tell you, sir, even though we talk some about our growth outside the united states, this year more than half of our capital investment is being invested here in the united states. we'll invest somewhere between $12.5 million and $13 million and over half of it here. we have announced even cree he recently our desire to build more stores and grow in urban markets in the united states where jobs are needed and where product is needed. and so we clearly are here wanting to grow here in the u.s., but we also have opportunity to grow and really help american companies by growing outside the united states. we'd love to work with you and discuss in more detail. >> i think chairman baucus has
to wrap up. i'm going to give awe question for the record in writing about tax policy and its effect on exports as well because this is another opportunity for growing more jobs in the united states. chairman baucus has been patient this morning. i thank you. >> we don't have much time. what about turning this around? i would change the code to get more foreign investment in the u.s. in addition for domestic investment in the u.s. basically the subject of this hearing. how do we get more foreign investment in the u.s.? >> i think you lower the marginal rate for activity in the u.s. on a territorial basis system. you'll make it more attractive for countries all over the world. >> simplestity, those are keys we have been talking about all
morning. >> how much do we make ourselves less competitive because we have a system which is so complex? someone said g.e. has 1,000 tax attorneys, for example. and my understanding our system is more complex. is that a competitive -- does that put america at a competitive disadvantage? >> a simple system would attract business to allow investor to grow. >> thank you very, very much. it's been very happyful. -- helpful. i think we'll have a lot more discussions. thank you very much. the goal to get us to a much more competitive system. thank you very much. hearing is adjourned. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
>> this hearing wraps up and we get set to take you to the u.s. house in about 15 minutes, they come in at noon eastern for more work on interior spending, next on c-span we'll take you live over to capitol hill waiting to hear from senator harry reid and others. democratic leaders in the senate as they brief reporters with an update on the discussions on debt negotiations. the two deficit reduction plans out there. both were rescored by the congressional budget office. congressman boehner, speaker
boehner's plan last night scored by the budget office at $850 billion, originally it was cuts of $1.2 trillion over 10 years. senator reid's plan, originally cutting $2.7 trillion over 10 years, congressional budget office announcing earlier today that that is actually $2.2 trillion over 10 years. and it is possible today that the rules committee would meet in the house side to consider the boehner proposal. we will let you know about that and any possible live coverage. we'll stay here live waiting to hear from democratic leaders again up until noon eastern when we bring you live house coverage here on c-span.
>> i really believe it's time for the house republicans to face facts. they are struggling to save a key party bill. and not a balanced solution. at the end of the day it doesn't matter if speaker boehner's bill passes or fails. the crisis is to ignore the extremists and meet in the middle of the road. where is there room for compromise? that's what we have done. we have compromised. the senate bill was written to take care of the problems that democrats said they had and republicans said they had. it meets our goal for social security and medicare. it is a good piece of legislation. it's a compromise. but it also satisfied the two major demands.
it contains revenues and amount of cuts needed to help the debt ceiling. we feel comfortable with the score we got from c.b.o. i know there were a number of questions with that. we need $2.4 trillion and that -- but also understand that the c.b.o., we always give them something to look at. and rarely do -- is the first run through what we wind up with. for us to arrive at $2.4 is really fairly easy to do. probably called tweaking it and can be done fairly easily. we'll continue to add savings. increase the number of savings if necessary. and we are confidence we'll meet our bottom line raising the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. the bottom line is this, there's only one bill in congress that
was a true compromise. we are running out of time. it's time to get serious about finding that compromise. >> thank you, senator reid. speaker boehner spoke to the american people on monday night with the president. he said he had a plan. the next day, tuesday, his plan was downgraded. downgraded by the rating agencies that said a short-term extension of the debt will endanger the american economy. it will cause us to lead to a downgrade in our credit report and upgrade in interest rates at exactly the wrong moment in history. the boehner plan was downgraded by c.b.o. and worst of all the boehner plan was downgraded by 100 members of the speaker's own caucus. i don't know where they are today. but i would hope that they would reflect on where our nation is today. we are six days away from our deadline. six days away from the first default on our debt ceiling in the history of the united states
at one of the most important economic moments that we have seen in recent times. we have a proposal here and it's one that the republicans know well. it includes spending cuts, but they all supported and voted for. it includes an effort to extend the debt ceiling beyond the fury of the next election campaign and give our economy a chance to get back on its feet. and it sets up a process for us to deal with long-term indebtedness of the united states. it is a responsible approach. we are urging the republicans now to step back, put their party caucuses aside, put their pledges to grover nor quiss aside, and put this country first. we got to get buzzy and roll up our sleeves today and get this job done. >> well, the speaker's plan is on life support and it's time
for him to pull the plug. we need to move on to other plans that actually have a chance of passing. even if the speaker is able to beg, borrow, and steal his way 217 republican votes, the bill remains a nonstarter in the senate and the president will never sign it. so the speaker's wasting precious time. every day he spends twisting arms in his caucus we can reason closer to catastrophic default. how many times does he have to throw red meat to the extreme right in his caucus to please them? enough already. let's get moving and get something real done. yesterday in an apparent attempt to rally their caucus, the republicans played a clip from a cops and robber movie, in the scene they chose to inspire their house freshmen, one of the crooks gives a pep talk to the other, right before they both put on hockey masks, bludgeon
two men with sticks, and shoot a man in the leg. literally in the movie, the protagonists say, people are going to get hurt. but they have to go ahead and do it anyway. ladies and gentlemen, this is your house republican majority. this example aside, we think speaker boehner is a good and reasonable man. evidently it was eric cantor who chose the film. in fairness to speaker boehner. we know he wants to do the right thing and compromise. but he's struggling to rein in his caucus. instead of leading the house, speaker boehner is being led by a frank in his caucus that thinks default -- fringe in the caucus that thinks default sock. speaker boehner should not and we cannot let a small block of house republicans lead the whole nation off a cliff. the boehner plan no matter how he tries to draft it up would
lead a cloud of default hanging over our heads for the next several months, undermining confidence in u.s. bonds. it could even cause a credit rating downgrade. while republicans continue pushing an unproductive plan, senator reid's plan offers the potential to finally break this impasse. our bill is the better bill. in every way. even when it comes to spending cuts. as political could he -- politico reports this morning, quotes, in the battle of budget scores, the senate bill is the clear winner thus far over an alternative by speak boehner. aside from avoiding default, aside from being more long term, we have more cuts. on paper, the republicans have no basis for rejecting the senate plan. that's why once the house plan is defeated, and the senate plan is the only option standing between us and default, we think
republicans will give this a long look and decide to go along. we should speed up that result and end this default crisis now. >> like everyone here, i have received thousands of calls and emails from people across my state over the last 24 hours and over the last few days. they are really concerned. they are scared. they cannot understand why this problem isn't getting solved. and they are demanding that congress get together, compromise, and get this done. i visited a senior center over the weekend where a relative was staying and i couldn't get through the lobby because of the number of people who are frightened about what the future holds for them there. i just came from a committee hearing that i just chaired on veterans where an iraq veteran advocate told us that they are just absolutely overwhelmed with
concern from veterans across the country about what is going to happen to them if we don't come to a resolution. they owe an answer. speaker boehner has burnished his conservative credentials time and time and time again. there is no question in this country where he and the members of his caucus stand. but now it's time for him to ask where is the country? where are the seniors and the families and the veterans and what is the best thing to do for our country? we have come to the table with a compromise. we have given up some of the things that we have insisted on. the plan that senator reid has put forward has deep cuts in it. and no revenue. and most -- but most importantly it gets us out of the chaos and crisis -- >> just want to let you know this hearing continues live. we cover it live online at a number of other briefings already happened today. you'll find those online as well.
12:00pm the u.s. house is coming in momentarily. we'll take you there live next. we'll let you know that the congressional budget office analysis of both harry reid's plan and speaker boehner's plan is posted on our website. you'll find those in related resources. the house coming in next. they'll take up a bill calling for an envoy for religious freedom and then much more debate later today on the interior department spending bill for 2012. the senate is in today as well. so far today they have confirmed the nomination of gary locke to be ambassador to china. now live house coverage here on c-span. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain, reverend rick postel, the christian renewal church in brunswick, georgia. the chaplain demrverage let us pray. heavenly father, we come to you in jesus' name, on behalf of
this great nation. we ask for your forgiveness of our transgressions and to thank you for your blessings and favor upon america. keep us mindful of your word that righteousness exalts a nation, that sin is a reproach to any people. grant these representatives which it'sdom to make decisions -- wisdom to make decisions to strengthen our nation, motivated more by your hand than by partisan concern. grant them grace to listen to one another with open hearts and minds. may the clarity and charity of their words reflect respect for their colleagues. may their decisions of today not become future apologies but may they be a statement of this congress' character, their firm resolve and a hope for a better
america. all this we ask in the name of jesus christ, your son, and our savior, amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces his approval thereof. the journal stands approved. the pledge of aliegeas today will be led by the gentleman from new jersey, mr. sires. mr. sires: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: without objection, the gentleman from georgia, mr. kingston, is recognized for one minute. mr. kingston: thank you, mr. speaker. our guest chaplain today is mr. rick postel from brunswick, georgia. rick is a native of gastonia, north carolina, and received his
b.s. in business management from troy state university and later the master degree in theology from beacon university in columbus, georgia. he currently lives in brunswick, georgia, with his wife, amy, and their three children. after graduating from school, rick served in the united states air force base at moody air force from 1981 to 1986. he traveled extensively while in the air force and worked on the aircraft maintenance unit while at moody, facilitating f-4 phantom aircrafts. after his service in the air force, rick served in the united states post office from 1986 to 2000. and then he joined the staff of christian renewal church in brunswick. he currently teaches religious studies at heritage christian academy in brunswick and has served as guest chal chaplain not only with us here today but
in the georgia state legislature on the senate and on the house side. he travels extensively and has been to mexico many times on a mission trip. his wife, amy, is with him today along with 18-year-old sam and 16-year-old charlie and 14-yard line haily. -- 14-year-old haily. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome with me pastor rick postel. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain up to 15 further requests for one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. >> mr. speaker, "the hill" newspaper recently reported that there's another prominent glitch in last year's health care law. millions of families could struggle to purchase insurance because of the sloppy manner in which the bill was written. mr. pitts: the law mandates that every individual pay insurance. if the insurance offered by an employer is deemed affordable by the government, then an employee
must purchase it. however the federal government will only look at the individual plans offered by companies, not the family plans. while the plan for an individual may be affordable, the family plan could be significantly more expensive. correcting this mistake in the law would mean at least $50 billion more per year in government subsidies. the president told the american people that the new health care law would not increase the deficit, now we find yet another example of how this bill will cost both american families and the federal government far more than what was claimed. clearly we need full repeal before this law full of glitches and mandates is fully implemented, bankrupting families and the government. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: request permission to address the house, -- >> request permiss to address the house, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> the house leadership has walked away from the negotiating table three times and continues
to push their plan to cut medicare, social security and medicare benefits, protect the top 2% of the americans at the expense of 98% of our families. pass a short-term deal that would lead to credit downgrade, higher interest rates and tax hike on every american and repeat this crisis next year. mr. green: let me read you some emails i've received. i'm disabled, 57-year-old gentleman who is restricted in a wheelchair. i thank god i live in a country where i'm able to receive disability income like millions of other disabled americans and social security recipients. i'm afraid if the republican leadership gets their way i'll soon be living on the street. i'm very concerned that the default would cause even more dire states are for the average homeowner -- dire straits for the average homeowner. they don't count the repercussion of higher interest rates, lower earnings and other investments as degrees, principals. what we need is not a republican plan or a democratic plan, we need an american plan to deal with our deficit that will take care it so we don't have all
these dire consequences next tuesday. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, in "the wall street journal" fred barnes documented on july 21 that in 1993 canada faced a fiscal disaster similar to the one we're facing today. government spending was on the rise, huge deficits were setting peace time records and the economy was stagnant and unemployment rate that was around 9% with interest payments on debt using 35 cents of every tax dollar. the newly elected prime minister in 1993 listened to the voters by stating, quote, canadians have told us that they want the deficit brought down by reducing government spending, not by raising taxes and we agree, end of quote. by spending -- by cutting spending, the canadian economy roared back from 1995 to 1998 and turned a $36.6 billion
deficit into a $3 billion surplus. the prime minister was able to put aside partisan politics and listened to the wishes of the canadian people. by leading in a manner that cut spending instead of raising taxes, the prime minister put canada first. our president should change from his failed policies and stop tax increases. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? >> address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> we have less than one week to prevent the government from defaulting on its loans. mr. sires: the majority has come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling. first, the budget tries to end medicare and gut medicaid. all while protecting tax breaks for big oil and corporations that send jobs overseas. then it was the so-called cut, cap and balance to achieve the same objective. now the speaker has put forth
another plan that seeks the same goals so they can impose cuts on medicare and medicaid as well as set their sights on social security. this plan will keep the crisis going with a temporary increase on the debt ceiling, leaving the cloud of uncertainty over our economy. we need to focus on a compromised plan that majority leader reid has presented to extend the debt ceiling through 2012 to prevent certainty to the markets without hurting the economic recovery, as well protect medicare, medicaid and social security from cuts. mr. speaker, we must accept the compromised plan to raise the debt ceiling in order to prevent another recession and save jobs in america. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the house will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate agreed to the request of the house to return the bill, h.r. 1309, cited as the flood insurance reform act of 2011 to the house of representatives.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: request permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, over the past 10 years the e.p.a. has sent almost $100 million of taxpayer money to fund green projects in foreign countries. in 2010 alone the e.p.a. gave $18 -- 18 grants to our good friend, the chinese. why does the e.p.a. do that? we owe the chinese over $1 trillion. why are we adding to our debt in misguided hopes that they can clean up the smoggy skies in china with american grant money? there is more. why is the breathe easy djakarta program in indonesia the responsibility of the taxpayers in houston, texas? well, it's not. i don't breathe easier knowing green money from the u.s. is financing green development in indonesia. at a time when we are facing somewhat of a financial problem,
we can't afford to be trying to green the rest of the world too. i'm for protecting our environment, but we do not have the money to spend in hopes of controlling pollution in our countries. let's green america first, not china. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? >> address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. mrs. capps: mr. speaker, in the over 200 days since the majority has controlled this house, they have yet to bring a bill to the floor that would create jobs or help working families. not one. not one bill to create jobs and build a stronger economy for the future, not one bill to invest in education, innovation or infrastructure. instead we have a partisan agenda to unfairly burden the middle class with deep cuts while preserving tax cuts for the wealthy and loopholes for big oil and corporations that ship jobs overseas. and to make things worse, the majority is threatening to force
an unprecedented default on our nation's debt. default would destroy close to 700,000 jobs, spike interest rates on credit cards and mortgages and cause untold damage to our struggling economy. this is not what the markets are looking for and it's certainly not what the american people want. they want us to help create jobs and reduce the deficit, they want us to compromise on a fair and balanced approach that doesn't just kick the can down the road. the american people are asking us today to put aside our differences for the good of this country and i support this responsible approach and urge my colleagues to do the same. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, the america stands on the -- america stands on the bridge of our nation's first default in history. our economy is struggling. the federal government borrows $188 million every hour of every day. for too long both parties have
turned a blind eye to our government's budgetary mess. washington needs to show the american people that we can deal with these challenges today and in the future. so far it has failed to do so. congress and president need to quit the partisan games and do what's in the best interest of america. the time to act is now. the american people demand nothing less. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from massachusetts rise? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. tsongas: mr. speaker, i recently heard from a long-term care facility in my district that is set to build an additional location, creating over 100 construction jobs and creasing the number of seniors able to -- increasing the number of seniors able to receive quality care. the financing was in place. but when my constituent met with his bank this week about moving forward, the bank put the deal on hold. with the threat of a u.s.
default unresolved, the bank was concerned that the facility's payments for from medicare and medicaid would stop, leaving them unable to repair that i -- repay their loans. a six-month extension like the one being proposed won't help my constituent reassure his bank or create the kind of long-term certainty needed in this still fragile economy. i urge my colleagues to reject short-term proposals that push us to the brink of default again and again. and call on the house to pass a plan that reduces the deficit while providing real long-term economic certainty to our financial markets, to our small businesses and to the american people who need the jobs these businesses create. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. broun: mr. speaker, in the midst of all the talk about raising the debt ceiling, i don't hear anyone talking about the most important factor in
this equation. our unsustainable national debt. everyone is focused on raising the debt ceiling. but if we truly want to get our economy back on its feet, we need to begin paying off the debt that president obama and his predecessors have created. it's obvious that our democratic leaders in the white house and the senate care more about making campaign speeches than about the livelihood of the american people. liberals want to raise taxes, but of course not until after the elections. and they want to sham us with talks about future cuts that we will never see materialize. it's like one big ponzi scheme and they're trying to get the american people to buy into it. we need spending cuts we need spending cuts now and pay down the outrageous debt. i urge both my colleagues and the american people not to fall for the accounting tricks. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from illinois rise?
the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. schakowsky: thank you, mr. speaker. it's been 29 weeks since republicans took control of the house and yet they have failed to bring a single jobs bill to the floor. in fact i just learned their proposal are estimated to cost another two million lost jobs. instead they are wasting time personing bills that will never become -- pushing bills that will never become law but do make their position clear. they are willing to hold the full faith and credit of the united states hostage. which will devastate the economy and middle class while doing everything they can to protect millionaires and billionaires. and companies that ship american jobs overseas. we need to raise the debt ceiling and then turn our attention to the real crisis, the jobs crisis. we can revive the american dream , we must. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman
from indiana rise? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today on behalf of the 14.7 million americans who are unable to find jobs. this administration's reckless spending policies, massive bailouts, and excessive regulations have driven the unemployment rate to an astounding 9.2%. democrats have shown again and again they care more about the bureaucrats that prevent jobs than the businesses that create them. every year un-elected bureaucrats issue more than 3,000 final rules. that's close to 10 rules a day. make no mistake. federal imposed rules consume precious time and resources. businesses are less likely to invest in higher -- hiring employees. this is a recipe for failure. americans have always been a forward thinking people who are constantly looking ahead to the next breakthrough. unfortunately businesses now look over their shoulders instead of aiming for the horizon. the american dream is still
alive, mr. speaker. just ask the men and women pounding the pavement polishing their resumes and looking for paychecks. americans are ready. we need to make washington tear down the roadblock. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. bass: mr. speaker, i rise in strong ottp significance to the debt ceiling plan. my republican colleagues have brought a bill to the floor that would introduce statutory spending caps for the next 10 years with mandatory automatic cuts across the board to all programs if the cap is breached. dissized as a solution, this cap would quickly become one of the most serious budgetary problems this country has ever faced. while spending cap might sound responsible, in reality caps don't balance budgets, caps trigger massive unsustainable cuts. we tried this in california. the republican spending cap jeopardizes our ability to improve our schools, rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure, and invest in
r&d. a global spending cap is not a solving for our budgetary woes. it would undermine our economy when the -- recovery when the economy gets better. you urge my colleagues to abandon this hostage taking on raising the debt ceiling and work with the president to lead us forward with a responsible debt reduction plan. besides forcing significant cuts to important programs, a cap would make it nearly impossible to restore service that is would cut over the recession as our economy recovers, or step in to respond to the current, future economic challenges. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the american people are depending on the congress and president to find a solution to the nation's skyrocketing debt. now is not the time for partisan
rhetoric, rather now is the time for both sides to come together and work on finding a bold, bipartisan plan to address the nation's debt and debt ceiling. one thing we can all agree on is default is not an option. we will and must pay our obligations. small business owners who have worked their entire lives will receive a devastating blow if washington can't setaside their differences and come together on this important debate. mr. dold: at a time when unemployment is at 9.2%, default is not an answer. we need to encourage the job creators of our country to invest and to hire. not paralyze them with even more economic uncertainty. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work on a bold plan. there is no reason we cannot come together and put our nation back on a path to fiscal sanity. americans across the country are depending on us to get the job done. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota rise?
>> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. ellison: mr. speaker, when did the idea of compromise get to be a dirty word? when did the idea that my way or the high way is the only way to go forward become the order of the day? we are at a stalemate because we cannot come to some basic ideas about how to move forward. now, here's the fact. absolute fact, irrefutable. we do not need to link and tie deficit reduction to raising the debt ceiling. they are independent necessities. they are two different things. and one does not have to be tied to the other. and when you link the two together, you are holding the full faith and credit of the united states hostage to a set of budgetary cuts. this is a mistakes. it is not states personship. it is not what we are elected to do. yes, we have to reduce -- do deficit reduction, but it doesn't need to be linked to
raising the debt ceiling. we should raise the debt ceiling now and then work on debt reduction. how do we do that? we need more people paying taxes to reduce the deficit. that means jobs. that means infrastructure. let's get it done now. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. ellison: pass a good infrastructure bill at the same time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. mcnerney: i rise to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people fighting against the canal. without permission the state is sending its employees into private farmland to conduct surveys that the state needs to conduct studies to build a canal. delta farmers are not standing for it. delta farmers have taken the case to the courts. i urge them to keep fighting for their property rights and the health of the delta. a canal or tunnel that takes wlarge amounts of fresh water from the delta would devastate
our families, farmers, and businesses and our communities. a canal will cause saltwater intrusion, destroy thousands of acres of farmland, and devastate our water quality. it's time for our state and federal agencies to respect the delta and its people. we won't tolerate anything less. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise? mr. cicilline: to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. cicilline: i rise today to recognize international youth day and honor youth leaders as we celebrate the international youth year. since 1999 when the u.n. designated august 12 as a day to recognize the role youths have played, we have commemorated the importance of young people getting involved in our global, regional, and national development. in celebrating the many milestones of the youth of today, we honor the lives and work of those who lead them. and so many fantastic youth.
one such example is my friend, franklin rodriguez, the minister of youth affairs in the dominican republic, and the president of the organization of youth who has joined us here today in the gallery. under franklin's leadership, the ministry of youth has worked to engage and empower dominican american youth in rhode island by collaborating with the college of rhode island to provide training opportunities and recognizing outstanding leaders in the community. many of rhode island's residence are young people who have contributed to the cultural, economic, and social development of our state in so many ways. for this reason i'm honored to recognize international youth day. the leaders of the youth movement. and the culmination of international youth here. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair would remind members not to make person reference to individuals in the gallery. for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan rise? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to strongly condemn the syrian
regime's recent hostility towards both the united states and syrian people. the courageous visit by u.s. ambassador to the site of massive anti-regime protests demonstrates that the united states stands by those who advocate for democracy and freedom. mr. peters: days after the visit, the american embassy in damascus experienced significant damage. had the forces acknowledged their obligations, these riders in support of president assad would not have been able to approach the embassy. by responding poorly, assad has conveyed disrespect towards the united states. i applaud secretary of state clinton's recent tough stance towards assad declaring his regime has lost lemcy. time and time again assad like his father before him has turned to arresting, torturing, and killing anyone who would stand in the way of his tyranny. therefore with the best interest of the syrian people in mind, i call on president assad to resign as president.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina rise? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, i rise to commemorate national youth sports week and welcome several exceptional student athletes joining us in the gallery. a local lacrosse star are here to celebrate. moments ago i was joined by pat lafontaine, former redskin, ken harvey, and youth sports leaders and coaches to unveil the youth sports legislative agenda a dress physical neth, access, nutrition, and safety. student athletes make better grades, get in less trouble, and less likely to be obese. mr. mcintyre: sports shapes the character of each child though steps on to the field. stop of our nation's top sports programs, the nfl, and u.s. tennis association among others are supporting this agenda. this represents the renewed
commitment to our nation's youth. children are the best investment we can make in our future. we should never be too busy to help a child. let's celebrate together national youth sports week. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. brown: thank you. saturday morning at midnight, following 20 previous clean extensions, funds for the federal aviation administration was allowed to expire. why did this happen? simple. just like the republican party lacking leadership over the debt ceiling debate, they absolutely refuse to compromise to the extend funding for the f.a.a. for them this debate is theoretical. yet for the 4,000 americans throughout the nation who are paid out of the f.a.a. trust fund, they will not be paid and tens of thousands who are affected by the cancellation of the airport construction
projects, this situation is real. for the state of florida that includes over 3,000 airport construction jobs lost and 27 f.a.a. employee jobs, 19 in the orlando international airport. let me just be clear. the reason that the f.a.a. extension was not renewed is because the house transportation committee chair, mr. mica, inserted language into the f.a.a. extension bill that would end the program that provides subsidies to rural airports. shame, shame, shame on the republican leadership in this house. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky rise? colorado. mr. perlmutter: for permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. perlmutter: kentucky is a nice place. thank you, mr. speaker, i am from colorado and in colorado just like all across the country americans believe that if they work hard, if they play by the
rules, if they are responsible in how they conduct their lives, they are going to get ahead. it's been very tough here recently. we have had a downturn. we have all this uncertainty because of my -- i believe republican brinksmanship to either shut down the government or maybe shut down the economy. people want to get ahead. they want to know that this country will continue to innovate, educate, and rebuild itself so that we have good, long lasting jobs that provide for our families. that's what democrats stand for. we don't stand for all this brinksmanship every day. are we going to have a government or are we not? are we going to have an economy or are we not? that's got to change. we got to get back to rebuilding the american dream w that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? >> permission to address the house for one minute. extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute.
ms. sanchez: thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise to extend some great congratulations to the santiago canyon college's, imagine cup team. earlier this month the team accomplished what many thought they would never do. first of all we are talking about a community college. and especially with the cuts happening in california to these wonderful colleges we have, they went and they competed against 430 of the best universities in the world. . in addition to that competition, this community college is a gem for our community. santiago canyon's proved that hard work and determination can make impossible dreams come true. they placed within the top 15 universities in the world.
so i am very proud of these students and i admire their ambition. they are true role models for all of our young students striving to succeed in an ever-changing, ever-global world. it is my honor to recognize hayden donzy, bill vetter, gary kelly and daily lizer for their remarkable accomplishments. congratulations -- dale lizer for their remarkable accomplishes. demrations and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i ask to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to congratulate and celebrate the occasion of its 350th birthday. originally inhabited by the mow hack tribe and then the dutch, the rich history has served as an inspiration for many of america's accomplishments. in the late 1800's edison
machine works manufactured the light bulb, later becoming the headquarters of general electric. they also played host to the former home of alco, the american locomotive company. these two developments prompted the community to be dubbed the city that lights and hauls the world and the electric city. today schenectady is an important part continues to lead the country with the focus on ingenuity and innovation, proving we can make it in america. i am pleased to applaud the city of schenectady on the rich history and numerous achievements it has accrued as we celebrate the wonderful 350th birthday of this community. and look forward to many bright and booming days to come. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
pursuant to clausele of rule 20, the chair -- pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 the chair will postpone motions to suspend the rules. or on which the vote is objected to under clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and call up the bill h.r. 440 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 440, a bill to provide for the establishment of the special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the near east and south central asia. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, and the gentlewoman from
california, -- or the gentleman, mr. berman, from california, will each control 20 minutes. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. smith: thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise and urge my colleagues to support -- i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise to urge my colleagues to support h.r. 440, establishing a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the near east and south central asia. the bill is authored by my very good friend and colleague, congressman frank wolf, who is also the author of the international religious freedom act of 1998 and other religious freedom legislation. he has taken the lead in this congress time and time again to advance the cause of those who are persecuted because of their faith. i wish to thank him for his years of service on this issue, his legislation and tireless advocacy on behalf religious freedom.
mr. speaker, this bill establishes the special envoy position for religious minorities in 31 middle eastern and south central asian countries. almost all of which have had bad or very bad records of persecuting or disadvantaging religious my authorities. the special envoy will represent the united states in contacts with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, u.n. agencies, the organization for security and cooperation in europe and in context with international organizations and multilateral conferences. it will also meet with victims and try to take their story to offending governments to mitigate the abuse. we know from experience, mr. speaker, that special envoys, including and especially for sudan and northern ireland, have achieved unparalleled successes over the years in mitigating explosive situations and literally saving lives all while pursuing positive and durable solutions to what appear to be intractable and unresolvable
problems. but not all special envoys have been equally effective. almost everything depends on who the president appoints to the position. so i would appeal to the president, when this bill becomes law, appoint someone with the passion, with the energy and with the experience to get this job done and to stand up as never before for these persecuted minorities. mr. speaker, i am particularly concerned and aum of us and many of my colleagues will speak about different religious minorities in the middle east, but i am particularly concerned about the coptic minority in egypt. they have been called the bell weather of the rights for religious minorities in the middle east. as the largest and one of the old of the minorities, their suffering and their escalating agony portends suffering throughout the region. and make no mistake, they are suffering. on friday of last week i held a hearing specifically to hear of the needs and experiences of the
coptics and during this time of transition, what i heard and what my colleagues herd on the commission worried us deeply. coptic women and girls, some as young as 14, are being systemly lured from their families or kidnapped off the street corners and forced to change their religion and forced to marry outside of their community. these young girls frequently suffer physical and psychological abuse including rape, beatings, forced isolation and lack of personal freedom both before and after their so-called marriage and conversion. the drugging of victims appears to be commonplace. one story that emerged at the hearing detailed the situation of a married woman who was forced to leave her coptic community and marry a muslim. her family was present at the official inquiry which are no longer conducted, i might point out, and said that she showed signs of being drugged. she was out of it.
over and over she repeated, i just had to do it for the children. i had to do it for the children. dr. michelle clark, an internationally recognized antitrafficking expert, she is one of those who led the protection project at johns hopkins and was director of the osce trafficking efforts for years, she testified, she authored a report called the disappearance, forced conversions and forced marriages of coptic christian women in egypt. she testified that this happens to thousands, i repeat, thousands of coptic women and girls each and every year. she said this on friday. others also have concurred in that analysis. dr. clark further testified that the mounting evidence shows that the term alleged which has been used in the country on human rights practices needs to go away. it's no longer even close to being accurate. it's not an allegation, it's a
fact that she herself as a human rights investigator has helped to establish by doing actual inquiries on the ground in egypt. she pointed out that the criminality of alleged forced marriage and conversions is generally dismissed by authorities here and everywhere else, especially in egypt. young women are presumed to be willing participants, the abduction and the disappearance of coptic women and girls follow, as she puts it, consistent patterns. men and women are used to build trusts and dispel resistance in young women, targeted for conversion in marriage. most cases documented in the report begin with a trusting relationship that ultimately leads to disappearance, abduction, marriage to a muslim man and conversion to islam. these supposed new friends exploit the vulnerability and the naivety of a young coptic woman, once trust has been established, girls are lured to an isolated place, drugged and
kidnapped. often they are raped, following the rape the coptic women experience shame and fear of how their families will respond. they become more willing to stay with the muslim friend, they feel that they have been so abused. and then they often marry their rapists because they feel they have nowhere else to go. she testified that in many cases young women protested their conversions in order to secure to islam and they're no longer available but that went nowhere with those that they protested to. let me just point out to my colleagues, then i'll reserve the balance of my time, what is going on in egypt and the abuses being experienced by christians and people in iran and elsewhere, we need to do much more than we have done to combat
this, to speak out, to do good chronicling but also once you get the information to ensure that it is actionable and that you take it to those governments. we have not done that. a special envoy would be uniquely equipped to take the cause of the beleaguered, suffering religious minorities in the middle east and to fight and to fight every day of the week for those people. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. berman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong support of this bill and yield myself as much time as i may consume. this bipartisan legislation creates a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the near east and south central asia. the state department, the special envoy would be responsible for monitoring and combating acts of religious intolerance, engaging with foreign governments to address laws that discriminate against religious minorities and working to ensure that the unique needs
of religious minority communities are being addressed. this bill is important because religious minority communities all around the world, but particularly in the near east and south central asia, are facing increased attacks and increased persecution. for example, in iraq, iraq used to have a significant number of religious minorities, including christians, sabians and a small number of jews. these groups have been subject to escalating violence, persecution and discrimination for their religious beliefs and today they comprise only about 3% of iraq's population. by some estimates half of iraq's christian population has fled since 2003.
in november of 2010 a pakistani court sentenced asia bibi, a christian and mother of five, to death under the country's blasphemy law. and what was her offense? in june, 2009, she was asked to get water for herself and a group of women working in the fields with her. the other laborers objected to a nonmuslim touching the water bowl and an argument ensued. that woman was later falsely accused of speaking ill of the profit muhammad in order to settle a personal score against her. asia remains in prison awaiting review of her death sentence. when punjab's governor had the courage to demand that asia be pardoned, one of his own bodyguards killed him. two months later when pakistan's
minister for minorities condemned the blasphemy law, militants executed him in broad daylight. in egypt, as the gentleman from new jersey has stated, 23 men, women and children were killed in a bombing at an alexandria church in egypt on new year's eve, just last may, treekists attacked christians at a church in cairo, leaving 12 dead and hundreds wounded. we are fortunate -- i wish these were isolated cases but i could provide countless other examples from afghanistan to india to saudi arabia. we're fortunate to live in a country that was founded by religious refugees on principles of tolerance. but it is important that we do everything we can to ensure that religious minorities elsewhere in the world enjoy the freedoms and protections they deserve, the freedoms and protections
enjoyed by all americans, appointing this special envoy will be an important step in that direction and i urge my colleagues to support this bill. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. smith: i yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee on justice for the appropriations committee, the author of h.r. 440, frank wolf. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for as much time as he may consume. . mr. wolf: i want to thank chairman ros-lehtinen for her support and mr. berman for his support and mr. smith for his help. i also want to thank some key staff members whose hard work and efforts on the bill have not gone unnoticed. elise, yolan, steve, and kyle. with the majority leader's office. they have been very, very helpful. i am grateful for their help.
this past january in the wake of increasing violence targeted tax and heightened discrimination against scrin and other religious minorities in iraq and egypt and perfect missing concerns in afghanistan and pakistan among other nations. i introduced bipartisan legislation, h.r. 440, which would consider the administration to appoint a special enjoy to advocate for religion minorities in the middle east and south central asia in order to make this issue a foreign policy priority. since the introduction this slayings has garnered widespread bipartisan support with nearly 80 co-sponsors. i want to thank anna eshoo, the lead democrat in the house, for her work on this. also companion legislation introduced now by senators roy blunt and kyle heaven. the legislation has also been championed by a host of faith-based organizations and diaspora of communities who recognize the importance of ensuring the vulnerable communities have an advocate within the u.s. government and
around the world. surely before introducing this legislation i chaired a hearing at the tom lantos human rights commission on the recent spate of attacks and the ongoing persecution of crips in iraq and egypt. commission members are a testimony that the increasing sectarian tensions in the two countries and need for greater u.s. attention to the plight of the religious minorities. the hearings was held prior to recrept events in the middle east which in some cases created a political vacuum that left religious minorities particularly vulnerable. i heard this fear expressed time and again during a recent trip to egypt. religious minorities throughout the region, including those who are jewish, baha'is, are on increasing pressure, many of these ancient faith communities have been forced to flee their lands that have been there for centuries. consider some of the following. last october at least 70 people
were killed during a siege on a church in baghdad, making it the worst massacre of iraqi christians since 2003. iraq's once vibrant christian community population has been reduced by at least a half since 2003. this will be tragic under any circumstances, but it is especially so given the rich heritage of this ingidge us in community. -- indigenous community. modern day iraq are mentioned with greater frequency in the bible than any other country. abraham, jonah,ester, -- esther, daniel, all hail from iraq. the christians of iraq today still speak aramaic, the language jesus spoke. in afghanistan, pakistan, countries where the united states has invested its treasure and lives of countless brave american soldiers, persecution of christians run rampant. on november 7 last year, pakistani court says the
christian bother was killed for the crime of blast familiary. her fate still remains at this moment unclear. pakistan blasphemy laws are used to victimize religious minorities and muslims. ern earlier this year, punjab's governor was shot and killed by his own bodyguard who reportedly told police he quote killed him because of the government opposition to pakistan's laws. in april, pakistan's federal ministry for minority affairs heroic man of faith whose courageous and outspoken leadership against his nation's draconian law made him a prime target of extremist islamist elements in the country. he was assassinated. he was the only christian member of the pakistani parliament. in the interview of the
"washington post," fred said, quote, urged americans not to foresake us or not to forget us. pakistan's suffering religious minority community. members of the jewish faith continue to express discrimination and persecution throughout the region. the special envoy for anti-semitism, anna rosenthal, has noted that the holocaust glorification is, quote, especially virulent in the middle east media. if the international community and our government fails to speak out, the prospects for religious pluralism and tolerance in the region are bleak, i urge my colleagues' support for this bill. and again thank the leadership on both sides for making this legislation a priority. i'm hopeful that this bill will overwhelmingly pass the house and deaccepted a clear message to both the persecutors and persecuted that the united states of america stands with those who most basic freedom the
right to worship according to the dictates of conscious is under assault. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman from new jersey reserve? reserve. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. berman:thank you very much, mr. speaker. i'm very pleased to yield at least three minutes to my colleague who brought this bill to my attention and who has worked with congressman wolf, the gentleman from virginia, to put it together and bring it to this point. deeply committed on this issue. and a very great member of congress. my colleague from california, ms. eshoo. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for three minutes. ms. eshoo: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank mr. berman, our distinguished ranking member of the foreign affairs committee, not only for giving me this time but for his conscience.
because that indeed is what this is about. and his unflagging leadership on so many issues. and your endorsement an strong support of this bill i think both -- says to the entire house that a person steeped in the background of the issues of the entire world is for this. i want to pay tribute to mr. wolf for his i credible advocacy on this issue relative to religious minorities for so long. it's an honor to have worked with you to bring this to a realization of not only legislation but to bring it to the floor and i salute you. are a gentleman and i, too, are a man of great conscience. mr. speaker, i think today we
are here on something that really distinguishes the united states of america. from the founding of our nation, religious freedom has been the pillar of our democracy. and it remains one of the most critical exports of our great nation. and i think having said that really establishes the foundation of why we are here in strong support of h.r. 440. this bill, as my colleagues have said, will create a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the near east and south asia. the legislation responds to the very urgent needs of christians and other religious minorities who are under siege. when i say that, i underscore it. they are under siege in the middle east. again i commend everyone, especially mr. wolf, who have
been part of this effort and as a co-chair of the religious minorities community and all the members of it, i thank them as well. in january of this year, representative wolf chaired a hearing to review the violence and the hardship faced by middle eastern religious minorities. i was privileged to testify that day about the plight of many people, but most especially the assyrians. i am of both assyrian and armenian descent and the language that mr. wolf spoke of, aramaic, i speak fluently and understand very well. it is the language, as he said, that jesus spoke. these are the world's oldest christians. and they are quickly disappearing from iraq. during this hearing, we also learned of egypt's coptic christian population what they face and the renewed threats and unacceptable violence in that
uncertain political situation. at the conclusion of the hearing, we agreed to press forward with this -- may i ask for two more minutes? mr. berman yield the gentlelady two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. eshoo: at the conclusion of the hearing, we agreed to press forward with this legislation to create a special envoy at the state department. someone at the ambassador level to elevate this issue for the attention it deserves. we need a high level official dedicated to religious freedom in the region, committed to addressing the concerns of minority communities. i'm very, very pleased that this legislation has attracted very solid bipartisan support. we have 78 co-sponsors, an even split, between republicans and democrats. all calling for the state department to elevate this religious freedom in the middle
east as a diplomatic priority. and there is a history for that. for this, i should say. senator john danforth served our nation as special envoy to sudan. and senator george mitchell as we all know, special envoy to northern ireland. so there is precedent for this. i want to speak of a meeting i had in my office last week. three dominican nuns, sisters, had traveled from iraq. they once again relayed their story of what is happening to them. they have been dispersed across iraq. they teach everyone regardless of their background, muslims, christians, no matter what the background is, and in their hospitals they care for whomever is sick and wounded. and yet their convents have been burned, the statue of the blessed mother's hands chopped
off and placed at their door. and so these threats are very real. they are very real. that is just one example of it. this history of violence must and should be dealt with. as i said, our great nation, our great nation treasures its religious freedoms and it's part of the core of our democracy. so that's why i urge all of my colleagues to join us, not just me, but all of us in supporting this important legislation. and the message that will go forward from this chamber, with all the other issues that are swirling around us, is that we stand with great dignity for one of the great principles of our great nation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. smith: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. the gentleman from california is
recognized. mr. berman: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from illinois, both here and abroad, fights against persecution and discrimination against religious minorities. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from illinois is recognized for two minutes. ms. schakowsky: thank you. i thank the gentleman for yielding to me. i rise in support of h.r. 440. a bill to provide for the establishment of a special envoy to promote religious freedom of religious minorities in the near east and south central asia. i want to thank my colleagues, congressman frank wolf, and congresswoman eshoo, for introducing this legislation and for their tireless leadership on this critical issue. evident know religious minorities continue to face a -- ethnoridges minorities continue to face violence in iraq. my district is home to a large and vibrant assyrian population, and they regularly share with me
the devastating stories of their friends and family members still living in iraq while facing threats because of their faith. in november, 2010, over 1,500 protesters demonstrated in chicago, sending a powerful message about the need to protect iraqi minorities. by creating a special envoy specifically focused on the rights of religious minorities in the region, this legislation is an important step toward ending the cycle of violence. to date the u.s. government and international community unfortunately have failed to provide security for iraqi ethnoreligious minorities. iraqi christians to fear for their physical safety as well as for their survival in their communities and culture. after population that numbered 1 $4 million people before the american led invasion, there are now less than 500,000 iraqi christians. mr. speaker, h.r. 440 is a critical step toward addressing the threat against